Warren County development referendum survives protest

The Warren County Board of Elections today denied a developer’s protest of a referendum that would block a housing subdivision planned outside Waynesville.

The board rejected the protest called for by developer John Federle.

Federle wants to divide 40.7 acres at 5615 Lytle Road in Wayne Twp. into 39 lots, despite opposition from residents who fought to get it on the ballot.

“Federle’s proposed use is in compliance with existing zoning, so no legislative action subject to referendum was permitted or proper,” lawyers Andrew George and Tyler Hoffer said in a letter lodging the protest.

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As a result of the board decision, on May 7, voters in the township will cast ballots to decide whether to undo the trustees’ decision, according to board director Brian Sleeth. Contrary to earlier reports, Waynesville residents won’t be voting.

On July 17, Wayne Twp. trustees voted 2-1 to allow Federle to develop the subdivision, over objections from residents.

On Aug. 21, the trustees called for the referendum, following a petition drive led by resident Tom Duerr.

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Federle’s lawyers argued his request for rezoning as a planned unit development was made on standard forms and followed township regulations, the lawyers said.

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Duerr said he has followed through the process calling the special election for the referendum without objection from prosecutors or election officials.

Duerr wants the township to require at least 2 acres for homes in rural residential developments.

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In forming the petition, Duerr said he copied from language used to call an election in a successful referendum in Washington Twp. in Montgomery County. He said a grassroots movement was building against the high-density planned developments.

Federle and his lawyers could not be reached after the protest hearing.

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